Innovation Seed Fund

A robust innovation seed fund program for energy research gives UC Berkeley researchers the opportunity to pursue cutting-edge, exploratory work — to bring our leading researchers together across disciplines, academic departments, and schools to promote breakthrough science and generate high payoffs. Seed funding is a critical “bridge” for many research teams, providing time to pursue ideas, establish a track record, and secure substantial long-term funding. 

The Philomathia innovation seed fund awards have been focused on multidisciplinary projects that address current gaps in the scientific, technological, and policy areas of Berkeley’s renewable energy portfolio, as well as projects that further define the frontiers of energy science and policy with the strong potential for scalability and implementation. Projects creating synergies among ongoing campus and Berkeley Lab efforts were especially encouraged.

In 2011/12 the Philomathia seed fund award supported researchers evaluating the efficacy of residential energy-efficiency programs in the United States (learn more).  The 2012/13 award supported researchers working on energy challenges confronting unelectrified rural communities in Kenya (learn more); and the 2013/14 awardees completed work on projecting wildfire events as a result of a rapidly warming climate in the western United States (learn more).